The present-day U.S. military qualifies by any measure as highly professional, much more so than its Cold War predecessor. Yet the purpose of today’s professionals is not to preserve peace but to fight unending wars in distant places. Intoxicated by a post-Cold War belief in its own omnipotence, the United States allowed itself to be drawn into a long series of armed conflicts, almost all of them yielding unintended consequences and imposing greater than anticipated costs. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. forces have destroyed many targets and killed many people. Only rarely, however, have they succeeded in accomplishing their assigned political purposes. . . . [F]rom our present vantage point, it becomes apparent that the “Revolution of ‘89” did not initiate a new era of history. At most, the events of that year fostered various unhelpful illusions that impeded our capacity to recognize and respond to the forces of change that actually matter.

Andrew Bacevich

Sunday, December 9, 2012

News of the Day for Sunday, December 9, 2012

U.S. forces rescue Dr. Dilip Joseph, an American who was kidnapped in Surobi, Kabul province on December 5. They kill 7 of his Taliban captors in the action. He was being held in nearby Laghman province. Further details of the operation will be announced later today.

Two civilians are killed and 2 injured by a roadside bomb in Ghorak, Kandahar province.

Members of a nomadic tribe clash with police in Kabul. Despite gunfire, there are no reports of injuries. This apparently has to do with their attempting to build houses.

A Pakistani government spokesmen rejects Hamid Karzai's accusation that the assassination attempt against Afghan spy chief Asadullah Khalid on Thursday was planned in Quetta. Khalid survived with serious injuries to his lower extremities when a suicide bomber infiltrated the National Directorate of Security in Kabul.

The Governor of Kapisa province denies reports that a polio eradication worker was assassinated last week, saying the woman was killed accidentally in a crossfire. He also disputes her reported age and says she was not working on the polio campaign.

Khaama's Ahmad Masoud reports that thousands of Afghans are injured by low quality gas cylinders and cookers every year, and that hundreds die. "Afghanistan imports gas cylinders from neighbouring countries and there are various brands of imported and domestically-made pressure cookers available in markets. Most people cannot afford to buy high-quality pressure cookers or gas cylinders; therefore, they go for the cheaper ones. There have been reports that petrol mixed with diesel has been sold as kerosene which is widely used in kerosene lamp and stoves. It is often the cause of fire."

Protesters attack the Iranian consulate in Herat, in the continued dispute over the execution of 13 Afghan teenagers in Iran. The Iranians say they were drug smugglers, but their relatives say they were merely looking for work.

Turkish president Abdullah Gul will host a summit between Hamid Karzai and Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday and Wednesday, in an attempt to reduce simmering tensions between the two countries. In particular, Karzai has long accused Pakistan of harboring militants who carry out attacks in Afghanistan. (He makes that accusation because it is true.)